It has come to light that Letterkenny Hospital was intended to be a safe haven for ‘refugees’ in the late 1980s if major chaos broke out in Northern Ireland.
Letterkenny General Hospital was newly-opened at the time, and covert preparations were made for it to cater to the medical and hospital treatment of casualties, should large-scale violence break out in the North after the Anglo-Irish Agreement.
Knowledge of these plans emerged today after the 1986 State Papers were released to the public.
Records show that Taoiseach at the time, Garret Fitzgerald, was preparing for a mass exodus from the North, and had made enquiries about updating contingency plans previously set at the height of the Troubles in the 1970s.
It was ordered that Letterkenny Hospital and Irish Army bases would house the first waves of refugees.
The Anglo-Irish Agreement was signed by Garret Fitzgerald and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1985. There were fears that the signing would cause an uprising of Loyalist violence.
In a secret letter to the Department of Health in December, the Taoiseach’s office sought confirmation that “plans previously drawn up by your department to cater for such an eventuality have been kept in place and updated to take account of developments such as the opening of the major new hospital in Letterkenny”.
Mr Fitzgerald’s office also reached out to the Department of Defence to ensure the plans were updated, saying that the likelihood of such measures being necessary in Letterkenny were not very high.Tags: